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economic situation is dire


ianrobo1
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Indeed, it seems I am in the majority. No coincidence that this is the fastest and most widely ever watched political speech on youtube. If people didn't agree it wouldn't be topping youtube's international most watched list would it?

The interesting bit is that the institutional left wing bias of the BBC meant they ignored it for so long, I'm sure you'll agree...

So what if it was looked at by many - I watched it, it does not mean that I hung off every word that Hannan said. Again if Hannan is your champion then fine, his views are odious and his racist tones are there for all to see. If you think that man is the answer then again fine, says a lot about you and your thinking, again IMO

I notice you make some claim about being in the majority, so what? Good to see that individual thought is such a big point foir you or is it being part of a publicity poll more important?

The BBC did not ignore it - they reported it - it was commented on BBC World. Maybe they saw it for what it was and not some sort of word from the messiah that you are making it out to be

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It is merely an observation of reality, that you are too bind to see the truth of it is not the shock of the century. Even the bloody Guardian readers are wading into him en masse for being utterly useless and deluded but you didn't respond to that..

No because unlike you and your obsession with physical appearance, I'd rather look at what the alternatives would and could do.

Again you rather miss the point that his utterly inappropriate and bizarre grinning is a reflection of the mans character and mental state, not his overall physical appearance.

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Just wondered where that wonderful post had come from Tony - embarrassed by the source maybe?

it came from sky news ..

no doubt Sky is now classed as right wing as well

also reported on the BBC , Reuters , Scotsman amongst others

Well it was such a widely reported story ............... except it wasn't and it wasn't a story now was it. Shame that
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Indeed, it seems I am in the majority. No coincidence that this is the fastest and most widely ever watched political speech on youtube. If people didn't agree it wouldn't be topping youtube's international most watched list would it?

The interesting bit is that the institutional left wing bias of the BBC meant they ignored it for so long, I'm sure you'll agree...

So what if it was looked at by many - I watched it, it does not mean that I hung off every word that Hannan said. Again if Hannan is your champion then fine, his views are odious and his racist tones are there for all to see. If you think that man is the answer then again fine, says a lot about you and your thinking, again IMO

The second time you have accused him of racism, if it's so clear to see would you be kind enough to point it out to the rest of us, otherwise it just smacks of deflection.

I notice you make some claim about being in the majority, so what? Good to see that individual thought is such a big point foir you or is it being part of a publicity poll more important?

I was under the impression that the majority view was rather important come election time and had a direct bearing on the prospects of politicians and governments.

The BBC did not ignore it - they reported it - it was commented on BBC World. Maybe they saw it for what it was and not some sort of word from the messiah that you are making it out to be

BBC World is hardly the primary BBC vehicle for informing the British public is it.

Edit: Last thing, if you didn't interpret criticism of Brown as a personal attack on you these discussions might be a tad more civilised. Just a thought.

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Again you rather miss the point that his utterly inappropriate and bizarre grinning is a reflection of the mans character and mental state, not his overall physical appearance.

and again the prosecution rests - obsession with physical appearance

I laughed at Hannan's bollox rant - laughed because of the way he tried and tried to point score with little or no alternatives. I laughed because it shows what the Tory party and it seems some of its followers are about. Maybe that makes me a monkey to you? Then again who gives a flying f@ck, maybe we could have some sort of phone in vote?

The big world out there is going through a unique time, the Tory party and its followers are seemingly more concerned about how they look

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and his racist tones are there for all to see

so you keep saying but have yet to offer anything to support this ..deflection attempt or do you have some form of material to backup your claim ?

Tony - read the f'ing blog. Read some of his other comments - I aint one of your lackeys
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I'm no economist but from reading up on the current problems it appears that deregulation of the financial markets has led to a bunch of shysters and gamblers dropping the economy in the shit. Question, when did the deregulation occur and which party was in power. Its just that if you put a long term poison into the economy it might not be the poor sap left holding the corpse years later is entirely to blame.Sure theres an argument that he should take some reponsibility. But how many throwing stones from the sidelines also have blood on their hands.Just a thought.

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Again you rather miss the point that his utterly inappropriate and bizarre grinning is a reflection of the mans character and mental state, not his overall physical appearance.

and again the prosecution rests - obsession with physical appearance

:?: Desperate stuff this Ian.

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Well it was such a widely reported story ............... except it wasn't and it wasn't a story now was it. Shame that

the clue may have been in the website name ..sky NEWS ..i could link to the 174 news organisations that have printed it ..but it seems only BBC World counts nowadays as a valid news source ...rolling eyes thingy

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otherwise it just smacks of deflection.

deflection attempt

:-) its the Tony and Jon show - you certainly did bond recently :-)

Deflection from what? The fact that he is an odious man? The fact that he has little or no real credibility? The fact that some are now seeing him as some sort of messiah? - Pardon me for having my own thoughts about Hannan and his views on things? I should have realised that in the new Tory world that is not allowed and we can only look for anti-Labour in all comments. All this of course while adjusting our hair ...........

Should have known better really

See ya !!

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and his racist tones are there for all to see

so you keep saying but have yet to offer anything to support this ..deflection attempt or do you have some form of material to backup your claim ?

Tony - read the f'ing blog. Read some of his other comments - I aint one of your lackeys

No you are making vile accusations and when called out over them resort to ^ because you cannot substantiate them. Telling indeed.

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Tony - read the f'ing blog. Read some of his other comments - I aint one of your lackeys

i already said i read through it ...and saw no mention of British jobs for British workers and so forth ..so I was struggling to find his overtones

however , you'd make a great prosecution lawyer

The accused is guilty , however i shan't be putting forward any evidence as I ain't your lackey and it's down to you the jury to find it yourselves

The prosecution rests M'laud

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the clue may have been in the website name ..sky NEWS ..i could link to the 174 news organisations that have printed it ..but it seems only BBC World counts nowadays as a valid news source ...rolling eyes thingy

174 - amazing - except the 174 news items from Google don't all report the same story now do they?

The Torygraph - not surprisingly reports it like that - not news though but opinion. Still if it keeps you happy and you get your daily "ooooh Labour bad" then the world is a happier place.

I've got errands to run so see ya!!

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its the Tony and Jon show - you certainly did bond recently

you know how it is ..sunshine , couple of cocktails , some music

bromance

Describes the complicated love and affection shared by two straight males.

Steve: Ah, Dave!!! I can't believe you stole this first pressing of Aladdin Sane from your record store for me. We were just talking about this the other night.

Dave: No sweat, pal.

Steve: That is some full-on bromance. You're the man.

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Moral hazard - lite and strong

I have always been a believer in the screw-up theory of history (and particularly of disasters) rather than of the conspiracy theory of history (disasters). The financial crisis that has engulfed the world certainly offers massive evidence for the importance of screw-ups - errors, mistakes, misunderstandings, singular stupidity verging on idiocy, misjudgements and missed opportunities. I am, however, as more detailed evidence accumulates about the genesis of the financial collapse, becoming more and more impressed with the importance of misfeasance and malfeasance - of negligent, unethical and outright criminal behaviour, ranging from high crimes to misdemeanours.

Three representative examples:

(1) UBS agrees to pay $780m (£548m) in fines and to turn over a yet-to-be-determined number of US customer names to the US government as part of a settlement in which the Swiss bank admitted it helped thousands of clients evade taxes. I don’t understand why a bank that systematically and over many years promotes, aids and abets tax evasion, tax avoidance and tax fraud should be allowed to continue to exist. Why aren’t all those involved stamping license plates? Surely, these are criminal as well as civil offences?

(2) Bernie Madoff runs a $50 bn Ponzi scheme over many decades, right under the noses of the regulators in one of the two financial co-centres of the universe. It is possible Bernie Madoff was the only crook involved. Possible, but unlikely.

(3) Why is Barclays sufficiently desperate to avoid even partial UK government ownership, that it is willing to accept £7 billion of capital from the Middle East at a price well in excess of what was available from the UK Treasury? Is this not a clear breach of the fiduciary duty of the management and the board? Why is Barclays now even actively considering selling one one of its crown jewels, iShares, rather than accepting a public sector capital injection when this was on offer? Could it be related to the fact that Barclays runs one of the world’s largest ‘tax efficiency’ units, which it does not wish to be subject to closer scrutiny by a shareholder who is supposed to speak for the British tax payer?

On March 17, 2009, Barclays Bank obtained a court order banning the Guardian from publishing documents which showed how the bank set up companies to avoid hundreds of millions of pounds in tax. The gagging order was granted by Mr Justice Ouseley after Barclays complained about seven documents on the Guardian’s website which had been leaked to the Liberal Democrats’ deputy leader, Vince Cable.

I am sure there is some legal peg that Mr Justice Mousey can hang this gagging order on, but to me this is an extraordinary interference with the freedom of the press and the public’s right to know something that is clearly of significant public interest. I tend to forget that justice and the law are two quite unrelated concepts.

The internal Barclays memos showed executives from SCM, Barclays’s structured capital markets division, seeking approval for a 2007 plan to sink more than $16bn into US loans. Tax benefits were to be generated by an elaborate circuit of Cayman islands companies, US partnerships and Luxembourg subsidiaries.

These documents were leaked to Dr. Cable by a former employee of the bank, who also wrote a long account of how the bank works. It included the following telling paragraphs: “The last year has seen the global taxpayer having to rescue the global financial system. The taxpayer has already had a gun put to their head and been told to pay up or watch the financial system and life as we know it disappear into a black hole.

“It is a commonly held view that no agency in the US or the UK has the resources or the commitment to challenge SCM. SCM has huge amounts of resources, the best minds rewarded by millions of pounds. Compare this with HMRC [Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs] recently advertising for a tax and accounting expert with the pay at £45,000.”

“Through the use of lawyers and client confidentiality SCM regularly circumvents these rules, just one example of why HMRC will never, in its current state, be up to the job of combating this business.” ...

Financial nonfeasance, misfeasance and malfeasance thrive on opaqueness, complexity and lack of transparency

Another reason why banks (although quite willing to take the King’s shilling in the form of guarantees for assorted assets and liabilities; indeed Barclays is considering joining the UK government’s asset protection programme) may be reluctant to accept the state as a major shareholder is the more intense scrutiny of what the bank has on its balance sheet that this is likely to imply.

It is clear that the vast majority of the large border-crossing banks are continuing to exploit every accounting trick in the book to avoid recognising the marked-to-market losses on their dodgy assets. With most banks cursed with paper-thin equity cushions in relation to their assets, a more intense, let alone a quasi-forensic scrutiny of the balance sheet by a nosy expert paid for and acting on behalf of the government shareholder could easily precipitate a move from partial to full state ownership and thence into insolvency and an orderly restructuring or liquidation.

Too many bank insiders have exploited their monopoly of information and the control it bestows on them, to enrich themselves by robbing their shareholders blind. There has been a spectacular failure of corporate governance. Boards have foresaken their fiduciary duties. Surely, even the liability insurance taken out by board members ought not to shelter those who are guilty of, at best, such willfull negligence and dereliction of duty? Where are the class actions suits by disgruntled shareholders? Where are the board members in handcuffs?

Now that there is no meat left on the shareholder drumstick, the rogue managers and employees are going after a piece of the really juicy bird - the ever-patient tax payer. I hope they choke on it.

Moral hazard refers, in insurance parlance, to a situation where the likelihood of an insured event occurring can be influenced by the insured party, without the insurer being able to observe accurately the actions of the insured party that influence the outcome. So anything that creates incentives for excessive risk taking, like limited liability and investments in toxic assets that benefit from leverage in the form of non-recourse lending by the Fed, would create moral hazard in the insurance sense of the word - moral hazard lite.

What we have seen and continue to see in much of the border-crossing financial sector, however, is a rather more literal form of moral hazard: a lack of morals in some key participants in the financial system dance causing major hazards to the financial well-being of millions of powerless victims. Corrupted morality putting at risk genuine, wealth-creating financial intermediation, innovation and risk-taking. This is moral hazard strong.

Finance is one of the great social inventions of humanity; the division of labour and specialisation in effort and activity that are at the root of all prosperity depend on it. It makes me sick to see an entire branch of human endeavour brought into disrepute by the actions of a relatively small (but still far too large) number of masters of the universe. There will have to be a reckoning, and not just in the court of history.

The Author, Willem Buiter is Professor of European Political Economy, London School of Economics and Political Science; former chief economist of the EBRD, former external member of the MPC; adviser to international organisations, governments, central banks and private financial institutions.

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